Best Restaurants in and around Wallingford

Wallingford is renowned for its food and drink. Set in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside, the town is surrounded by farms and independent food producers and the many cafes and restaurants source their food locally.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Whether you are looking for traditional or international cuisine or venues that provide vegetarian, vegan or gluten free options, you’ll be spoiled for choice.

We hope the following provide a few ideas.  Whilst all were open at the time of writing, it’s worth checking opening hours online.

The Best Independent Restaurants 

The Shellfish Cow Restaurant & Bar, Wallingford

Owned and run by two, local, experienced, restaurateurs who appreciate good food, the Shellfish Cow, located on Wallingford High Street, is a popular restaurant serving ‘surf and turf’ – including the freshest British shellfish and excellent quality meat.  

There’s a well-stocked bar on the ground floor serving ales, lagers, wines, artisan gins and cocktails.  There’s a trendy dining lounge in the bare brick cellar as well as first floor dining rooms. 

Devon scallops, Cornish Lobster, king prawns, mussels and fresh oysters all appear on the menu along with Himalayan Salt Chamber dry aged ribeye steak or sirloin steak – along with a vegetarian dish of the day.  There’s also a homemade dessert of the day and a cheeseboard with a selection of three cheeses. 

Visit the Shellfish Cow website

Five Little Pigs, Wallingford

Located on St Mary’s Street, this is another of Wallingford’s excellent independent restaurants.

Indeed, it’s a great, award-winning, neighbourhood bar and restaurant that serves seasonal, locally sourced food and drink.

For those who enjoy brunch at the weekend, the Five Little Pigs currently offers a Bottomless Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays with tables available from 10 am to 4 pm. On Sundays, you’ll also find an all-day brunch menu plus the classic menu offered as ‘small plates’ or ‘bigger plates.’  There’s a children’s menu and whilst the menu changes regularly, you can expect such favourites as mini-Cumberland sausage with beans and toast and fish finger sandwiches with peas and chips for the younger members of the family.

The Best Riverside Venues Near Wallingford

The Beetle & Wedge Boathouse, Moulsford

Located a short way out of Wallingford on the banks of the River Thames in Ferry Lane, Moulsford, the Beetle & Wedge is set on a stretch of the river made famous in ‘The Wind in the Willows’ and Jerome K Jerome’s ‘Three Men In A Boat.’ 

You can enjoy more than a delicious meal at this venue – there’s a variety of private boats for hire enabling you to enjoy the river and the countryside before returning to moor up on the pub quay.

If you want to make the most of the location, there’s the Ferryman’s Cottage set within the grounds of the restaurant – an ideal location for a few nights away. There’s a mouthwatering menu ranging from pan-fried scallops in cauliflower puree to confit pork belly.  The lunch menu includes sandwiches and a range of classic starters, mains and delicious desserts, the dinner menu is equally tempting and there’s also a children’s menu available. 

View The Beetle And Wedge website

Best Traditional Pubs in and Around Wallingford

The Home Sweet Home, Roke

Located on the Benson to Watlington road in the pretty hamlet of Roke, the Home Sweet Home is a traditional country pub dating back to the 17th century and offering open fires, rustic wood floors and exposed stone walls.

The Head Chef and Owner, Domenic and Sous Chef, Julian, provide a fresh, seasonal menu.  The restaurant serves ‘while you wait’ aperitifs and cocktails, lunches, a main menu including vegetarian options, evening specials and Sunday roasts including lamb, beef, pork, chicken and a vegetarian Wellington.

If you’re out for a stroll with your dog, you’ll be able to call in for a meal because dogs are welcome in the bar, snug and secure, south-facing garden.

The Crooked Billet, Stoke Row, near Henley-on-Thames

Rucked away, off the beaten track, down a narrow winding lane in Stoke Row, The Crooked Billet dates back to 1642 and was once the hideout of the highwayman, Dick Turpin, who was reputed to be in love with the landlord’s daughter, Bess.  

In times past, it operated as a small holding, selling locally produced ale from a tiny cellar – a cellar which is still a feature today.  In 1989, this was the first pub to be christened a ‘Gastro Pub’ when the Daily mail referred to the rural pub as offering Gastro Pub gastronomy.  

The Crooked Billet hit the headlines again in 1997 when Kate Winslet chose to host her wedding there serving bangers and mash to the guests. Paul Clerehugh has run The Crooked Billet since 1989 rearing beef and sheep and growing produce for the menu on his nearby smallholding.  

The menu is eclectic with modern British and popular bistro favourites. There’s a daily a la carte menu, a Monday to Friday set menu, a Sunday lunch menu with traditional roasts and a seasonal party menu to choose from.  

The pub also hosts music nights in a centrally heated marquee with pre-show dinner, table service food and drinks throughout the evening.  

The Best for Italian Cuisine 

Avanti, Wallingford

Located on the High Street, Avanti has been popular in Wallingford since 2006 offering ‘a true taste of Italy’ and a relaxed atmosphere.  

The menus are typically Italian with antipasti (appetisers), primi piatti (starters), a full range of pasta and risotto dishes, secondi (mains), pizzas and  dolci (desserts).  There is also a vegan menu with some gluten free choices.  The special set lunch served from Thursday to Saturday up to 3.30 pm offers excellent value for money.  There’s also a takeaway menu if you’re planning to spend the evening at home. 

View Avanti's website

Pizza Express, Wallingford 

This chain restaurant is a national favourite and the Pizza Express in Wallingford is located on St Mary’s Street.  

This is a great option for vegetarians, vegans and those who are gluten-free.  You’ll find a fabulous range of pizzas on the menu including the Romana – a bigger, thinner, crispier pizza inspired by the pizzas of Rome, classic pizzas, calzone pizzas and leggere – the lighter, lower calorie pizzas.  In addition to a vegan menu, there’s a good range of gluten free pizzas.  

For those who prefer not to eat pizzas, there’s a selection of authentic Italian pasta dishes and salads on the main menu.  If you’ve got room, there’s an enticing choice of desserts – including dolcetti – mini desserts served with coffee or tea.

Visit the Pizza Express website

The Pizza Café, Wallingford 

If you’re looking for an excellent take-away pizza, Wallingford’s The Pizza Café is ideal.  

You can order for pick up or delivery and, in addition to a range of classic pizzas, there are vegan, lactose-free and gluten free options available and even part-baked pizzas for you to finish off cooking at home.   At lunchtimes, you can also pick up a hot or cold baguette.  

Visit The Pizza Cafe's website

The Best Indian Restaurant in Wallingford

The Delhi Brasserie, Wallingford

Located on the High Street, The Delhi Brasserie is a popular choice with those who appreciate Indian cuisine – and if you don’t want to dine in, there are collection and delivery options.  

The main menu includes starters, tandoori dishes, house specialities, tawa and traditional dishes, biryani dishes, balti specialities and vegetarian mains and sides.  If it’s too difficult to choose, there’s a set menu for two people.

Looking for a wine bar in Wallingford? 

Le Clos, Bar A Vin, Wallingford 

This relaxed wine bar in St Mary’s Street offers 200 fine wines, 40 by the glass complemented by good food. 

Their menu includes charcuterie with hams from Italy and Spain, Spanish anchovies, fois gras terrine, French duck rillettes, black tiger prawns and the house speciality – a tarte flambee either classic with bacon and cheese or with goats cheese or smoked salmon.  For vegetarians, there’s a Mediterranean board option. 

The Keep, Wallingford 

The Keep on Castle Street may be the smallest bar in Wallingford but it has a huge selection with over 70 gins, dozens of craft beers, ales, ciders and wine.

The Keep is owned by Rob McGregor and Sam Smith, who played cricket and worked together in a pub before they became business partners and the proprietors of the Keep.

Later they joined forces with local chef, Aimee Hunt, and opened Five Little Pigs and also The Bear of North Moreton.   When visiting The Keep, trying the Albino Flamingo is a must – this is the Keep Spirits Company’s very own gin, crafted over five years.  

The Best Coffee Shops in and around Wallingford

There are so many coffee shops and tea rooms in Wallingford – the following are just a few of our favourites:

Bean & Brew, Wallingford 

This family friendly café in St Mary’s Street has plenty of seating – inside and outside, with a downstairs and an upstairs section.  

There’s a good choice of hand-crafted coffees, fine, loose-leaf tea, warming hot chocolate, rich chai steamers, iced teas and other hot and cold drinks.  

If you’re hungry, there are freshly prepared sandwiches, crepes, homemade soup and salads and ‘breakfast foods’ including bagels, muffins and porridge and, of course, homemade cakes and pastries.  This café is excellent if you’re following a gluten free, vegetarian or vegan diet.

Visit the Bean and Brew Facebook page

Mollie’s Café , Wallingford 

Located on St Martin’s Street, Mollie’s Café is a heathy eating café offering a range of home cooked classic favourites including vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options for breakfast and lunch.  

You can choose to eat in and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere – or take away.    The full English breakfast comes with a veggie option – or you could choose a ‘London breakfast’ or granola and yoghurt.  

For lunch there are baguettes, paninis, jacket potatoes or daily specials and delicious cakes.  

Visit The Mollie's cafe website

Coffee #1

This spacious coffee shop is located in Wallingford’s Market Place and is a great place to relax with a drink and a tasty treat.  

Savouries include bacon or sausage baps, toasties, panini, breakfast warps and vegan and vegetarian options such as Vegan Meatball Wraps and Sweet Potato and Spicy Bean Wraps.  

There’s also soup, toast and a whole range of pastries and tarts. The list of cakes is even longer!

Visit the Coffee #1 website

The Waterfront Café, Benson 

This independent café, bar & bistro, set on the banks of the River Thames in Benson, is a delightful place to stop for breakfast, lunch, supper or anything in between after a stroll along the river bank.  

All produce is locally sourced and the food promises to be simple, honest and uncomplicated from the sourdough breakfast rolls to the homemade beer battered fish and chips and colourful salads.  

There’s a great choice of home-made cakes, including vegan and gluten free options, giant scones and mouthwatering brownies – as well as an ice cream bar.  

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